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Vol. II, Issue II                                                                                           View this email in your browser
October 2018

#1Thing: Safe Housing Matters

Safe Housing Partnerships joins our partners and allied stakeholders from across the country to celebrate and honor advocates and survivors this October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). DVAM is a time-honored tradition evolving from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 to a nationwide, month-long observance involving a range of activities designed to: 
  • Mourn those who have died because of domestic violence,
  • Celebrate those who have survived, and
  • Connect those who work to end violence.
A unified message of #1Thing moves people from awareness to action and inspires thinking about how individuals can take small steps that lead to real social change. This message underscores the importance of asking, “what is the one thing needed to create change?”
 
Change can start with only #1Thing. One person’s actions may seem insignificant, but together a communities' collective “#1Things” can lead to real social transformation.
 
For Safe Housing Partnerships, safety is a core element of permanent housing stability for survivors. The #1Thing is Safe Housing Matters! Learn more at www.safehousingpartnerships.org.
 

In this issue:

Expanding Safe Housing Options for Survivors:
Exploring the Use of Flexible Funding


The ability for survivors to maintain or access safe permanent housing can be significantly limited by the cascading impact of domestic violence. Poor credit, a lack of a rental history, a criminal history or an uneven work history can all result from economic abuse, a debilitating aspect of domestic violence. These barriers compromise a survivor’s housing stability long after the survivor has escaped the abuse, and these barriers are compounded for survivors with limited resources and/or from historically marginalized communities. Flexible funding is financial support coupled with trauma-informed advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence to address whatever barrier exists between survivors and safe housing stability.

Growing research shows that emergency financial assistance helps survivors achieve and maintain housing stability. A longitudinal evaluation of the District Alliance for Safe Housing’s (DASH) Survivor Resilience Fund (a flexible funding program) in Washington, D.C. found that this brief, relatively inexpensive intervention may increase housing stability—94% of clients were housed 6 months after funding was received. Also, evaluation of the Washington Sate Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s DV Housing First (DVHF) model showed that the impact of flexible funding, a core component of the model, was multifaceted. It allowed agencies to reach a broader group of survivors by offering a range of options for housing stability, and they could meet the needs of survivors not served in emergency shelter. International aid studies also show that direct funds to those in need have immediate and long-term positive impacts.

Flexible funding can be used in a variety of ways to support housing stability including: 
  • Helping a survivor transition from temporary shelter to permanent housing, such as covering moving expenses, storage fees, security deposit, first month’s rent and utility expenses;  
  • Preventing homelessness, including covering indirect costs that can impact housing stability such as automobile repair, child care and medical bills; and 
  • Used as a tool in concert with other housing advocacy approaches to address survivors’ myriad housing needs. 
To learn more about flexible funding and how this model can support expanding safe housing options, read the full article written by Suzanne Marcus, Director of Safe Housing Initiatives, NASH.
 
 
California Bolsters
Safeguards for Survivors from Housing Evictions

 
California recently passed a law strengthening housing protections for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, among others, who need to call for police or emergency assistance. In August 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2413, the Right to a Safe Home Act,  which was co-sponsored by National Housing Law Project, the Women's Policy Institute, and the Women's Foundation of California.  The bill adds protections for both landlords and tenants from the harmful impacts of nuisance or crime-free ordinances. Such ordinances and policies often penalize property owners and renters, and in particular disparately impacting communities of color, for too many calls for police or emergency assistance, and can force landlords to evict tenants who have done nothing wrong, including survivors. 

The new law:
  1. Protects a broader set of individuals who need to call for police or emergency assistance from penalties such as eviction;
  2. Provides tenants being evicted for calling for assistance with an eviction defense; 
  3. Establishes that state law supersedes local laws that penalize tenants and landlords due to emergency or police calls; and
  4. Improves documentation options for survivors who need to demonstrate abuse in the context of defending an eviction. 
The text of the bill can be found here.  For more information concerning nuisance ordinances and their impact on survivors, contact the National Housing Law Project at nuisance@nhlp.orgThe National Housing Law Project has created a fact sheet for advocates regarding nuisance ordinances, available here.
New Resource for Service Providers: Housing for Survivors of Human Trafficking
 
Freedom Network USA recently launched a project to support service providers to support access to housing options for survivors of trafficking. The project provides tools, resources, and webinars that providers can use.

Learn more.

Voter Engagement & Participation:

An Important Role for Advocates

 
As advocates working with and on behalf of survivors of domestic and sexual violence, we are often in a unique position to see the real impact that laws and policies have on people’s daily lives – on their safety, health, economic security, and well-being. We can notice patterns and gaps in how systems are or are not responding, and by deeply listening to survivors and communities, we can help identify policy solutions that can make a significant positive difference.

Who and what we vote for – the candidates, ballot initiatives, and referendums – at the federal, state, and local levels is a critical opportunity to make our voices heard, to use our vote as a statement of our values and priorities.

This DVAM, #1Thing you can do to address domestic and sexual violence is commit to voting. For those of us with the ability to vote, we should also take this month to be sure that our vote is based on a well-informed understanding of the policies that candidates put forward, and the impact of initiatives or other measures that might be on the ballot – and to remember that this kind of policy-level work is central to our role as advocates, too!
 
Click here to read the full blog created by the NRCDV Policy and Research Team.
Featured Safe Housing Resources  

Check out these great resources from DVHTAC and our allied partners:
 
For more great resources, visit SafeHousingPartnerships.org.
 
Technical Assistance Question (TAQ)*
 
It’s no secret that survivors of domestic and sexual violence make up a large percentage of the families and individuals who seek help from the homeless/housing services system. Sexual and domestic violence can compel survivors to flee their homes to escape the abuse or to distance themselves from the site of a sexual assault. Survivors may also lose their homes or be at an increased risk of homelessness due to an abusive partner’s behavior. The short and long-term impacts of trauma stemming from domestic violence and sexual assault may also contribute to housing instability.

The multilayered intersections of homelessness, housing and domestic and sexual violence requires that both victim services providers and homeless/housing agencies know how to support survivors secure safe housing and recover from the impacts of the violence and trauma they have experienced. Survivors facing housing instability need an array of pathways to safety and stability, which often leads them to seek help through homeless/housing service providers.

Within the context of housing instability, a safety planning approach helps to ensure that individual survivors can receive tailored attention to their unique circumstances while participating in both housing and victim services programs. To equip homeless/housing providers with a foundation and basic roadmap, a safety planning toolkit has been developed by the National Alliance for Safe Housing and is now available and you can access it by clicking here

To find out more, read the full TAQ written by Kris Billhardt, NASH. Also, check out the October TAQ on how building strong communities benefits survivors on VAWnet.org.
*What is a TAQ?  The TAQ, developed by NRCDV, provides information on various issues related to gender-based violence that has national reach or impact and is relevant to the work being done by service providers and advocates in local communities. Each TAQ is in direct response to specific questions received from the field or developed around emerging issues. 
 

D V A M

Tools and Resources to Round Out Your October
 

Need last minute ideas to round out your calendar of events for DVAM? The Domestic Violence Awareness Project offers an array of ideas and activities to help with the final planning and preparation 
#1Thing Key Messages:
Here are a few sample media posts to use this month to raise awareness about DV and #1Thing:
  • #1Thing I will do to address #DV is to speak out when I see micro aggressions.
  • Do #1Thing to make a difference to a survivor of #DV. Learn more.
  • There is value and power in your #1Thing. Speak it loud and proud.
  • One of the most important things we can do to help advance polices that benefit survivors is to VOE in federal, state, and local elections. #1Thing you can do now is make sure you're registered and commit to voting in November!
  • #1Thing to remember this #DVAM2018 is that #safehousing is consistently rated as survivors' most urgent need. Advocacy for safe, affordable housing is all of our work!
What is your #1Thing? Share it on Social Media

Questions? The Consortium TA Team provides individualized technical assistance and training to communities interested in expanding the array of safe housing options for domestic and sexual violence survivors. We can support domestic and sexual violence advocates, homelessness and housing providers, and other allied partners interested in building stronger community collaborations.  Contact us at SafeHousingPartnerships.org.
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Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium
 
The Consortium, launched in 2015, provides training, technical assistance, and resource development at the critical intersection of homelessness and domestic violence and sexual assault. Funded by a partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Consortium supports a TA Team of four national organizations: Collaborative Solutions, the National Alliance for Safe Housing, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. The Consortium works collaboratively to improve policies and practices that strengthen efforts to build safe and supportive housing options for domestic and sexual violence survivors.
 
      
 
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Our mailing address is:
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
6041 Linglestown Rd., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17112
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This project is sponsored under awards from the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office on Violence Against Women and the Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The interagency collaboration established this domestic violence and housing technical assistance consortium to provide national domestic violence and housing training and resource development.






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National Resource Center on Domestic Violence · 6041 Linglestown Rd · Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17112 · USA